Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa, surrounded by Guinea, Liberia and the Atlantic Ocean. It is a place with stunning beaches, tropical weather and friendly faces. However, Sierra Leone has had it's share of difficulties, struggling through a civil war between 1991-2001 and the largest Ebola outbreak in history in 2014-2015. By January 2002, when the war was declared over much of the country's infrastructure was damaged, including its health services. The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak again highlighted the dire state of the healthcare system.

For years, Sierra Leone ranks as one of the countries with the lowest human development index according to the UN, currently on the 181st place. In Sierra Leone health statistics are among the worst in the world and they are only slowly improving. Despite the free healthcare initiative launched on April 27, 2010 stating that healthcare is free for children under five, pregnant women and lactating mothers, it is still a challenge to improve the accessibility and quality of healthcare of Sierra Leone. 

According to the WHO Statistics in 2010 life expectancy at birth was 49 years. Both the infant (123 per 1000 live births) and child mortality rates (194 per 1000 live births) are shockingly high. The child mortality rate indicates that 1 in 5 children do not reach the age of 5. Most of these children dying of preventable and treatable diseases. Granted, the statistics have improved since 2006 when 1 in 4 children did not reach the age of 5, but this country still has a long way to go. To give you an idea, the child mortality in other countries is as follows: Haiti: 1 in 14, the USA: 1 in 125, the Netherlands: 1 in 200 and Iceland: 1 in 333. Maternal mortality rates are also amongst the highest in the world with 1 in 8 women dying in pregnancy, compared to 1 in 47,600 in Ireland. 

All this to say that Sierra Leone still has a long way to go and hopefully the post-Ebola recovery plans, with a focus on improving maternal, neonatal and child health will bring about positive change.

~ Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. micah 6:8 ~